Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors, Storylines

Shaun Church@@NFLChurchContributor IApril 18, 2012

Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors, Storylines

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    As the 2012 NFL Draft draws closer, the Arizona Cardinals face many unanswered questions.

    Will they take a tackle with their first pick? Will they be able to regain a second round pick through trade? Is taking a wide receiver the best option at No. 13?

    2011 turned out to be an exciting year for the Cardinals, despite starting out 1-6. Thanks—in large part—to rookies like Patrick Peterson and Sam Acho, that were able to flip their luck and finish strong, leaving fans with the hope of a dominant season in 2012.

    Will there be any impact rookies like Peterson and Acho in the new draft class?

    Throughout the next few slides, we will touch on Cardinals draft news and rumors (who might be on the radar), trade news and rumors (any players or picks that might be on the move) and other various questions which Arizona must consider before—and during—the draft.

Latest Cardinals Draft News, Rumors and Speculation

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    April 16, 2012: Per Mike Jurecki, former Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd and former Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler are visiting Cards camp today.

    Floyd is high on the list of probabilities at No. 13, should he be available. Arizona doesn’t need a quarterback, so this might be a courtesy to Osweiler. I’m sure he’s wanted to see the facility for some time, and this is as good a time as any.

    April 12, 2012: Per Mike Jurecki, former Arizona State cornerback Omar Bolden is visiting Arizona today.

    Bolden is ready to go after suffering a knee injury that caused him to miss the entire 2011 college season. According to a report, Bolden ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.5-second range at ASU’s pro day.

    He is believed to be a second-round talent, so unless the Cards get back into the second round, they may not get a chance at seeing what he can do.

Latest Cardinals Trade Rumors and Speculation

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    Will the Cardinals Trade Down In the First Round?

    The Dallas Cowboys are in desperate need of a safety that can plug running lanes while still being able to help his corners in coverage. They haven’t had one since Roy Williams patrolled the secondary in the early 2000s, and Alabama safety Mark Barron fits the bill perfectly, as shown here by B/R Featured Columnist Peter Matarazzo.

    Barron is becoming a hot commodity with the draft fast approaching, and there could be teams willing to trade up with someone to snag him from Dallas. The New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals come to mind as teams also in need of safety help who could jump up if the Cardinals don’t like what they see at No. 13.

    Cincinnati, with its two picks in the first, would seem like a better trade.

    Trade scenario A: The Cincinnati Bengals send pick No.’s 21 and 53 to Arizona for the No. 13 overall pick. With the 13th pick, Cincinnati takes Barron, and Arizona moves down only eight spots in the first to get back into the second round.

    Trade scenario B: The New York Jets send pick No.’s 16 and 47 to Arizona for the No. 13 overall pick. The Jets take Barron, and the Cards move down only three spots to reclaim a second rounder.

    This is less likely to happen than the Cincinnati trade because although it would fill a hole the Jets are in desperate need of filling, it would leave them without another pick until No. 77 in the third round—essentially the same situation Arizona is currently in, with pick No.’s 13 and 80 overall, respectively.

    Trade scenario C: There is always a dark horse in situations like this, and this particular situation is no different. The Detroit Lions send pick No.’s 23 and 54 to Arizona for the No. 13 overall pick.

    Detroit gets a direly needed leader in the secondary, while the Cardinals move back 10 spots to get their second round pick.

    Trade scenario D: As first seen on SportsCenter, and with a link finally located (h/t to commenter Blake Murphy for digging that one up), Todd McShay has suggested that Philadelphia may be interested in a trade up from No. 15 in order to take Barron, or one of the big defensive tackles, to make sure the Cowboys—at No. 14—do not get whomever they feel is Jerry Jones' top target.

    To do so, Philly would need to part ways with one of its two second-round picks, likely the very pick it received in the Kevin Kolb trade last offseason.

    The Lions trade makes sense. Most believe Detroit will take a cornerback with their first round pick; however, having a coach in the secondary is invaluable, and the right one can make all the difference.

    A trade with the Eagles, however, would be the best-case scenario for Arizona. Trading back only two spots from their original position in order to pick up a second rounder is a steal. It also would mean that if Michael Floyd is there at No. 13, he would also be there at No. 15. Dallas likely has no interest in a receiver with their first pick.

    While the likelihood of trading down is still slim at this point (after all, no one knows for certain which players are highest on Arizona’s big board), there could be options should they feel the need to get out of the No. 13 spot.

    All of these trade scenarios are purely speculation, and there is no real talk of having a trade partner or any real need to do so at the moment.

    But things can change with just one pick.

Will the Cardinals Draft a Tackle In the First Round?

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    Left tackle Levi Brown, though highly scrutinized, played extremely well down the stretch in 2011.

    Arizona was forced to release the six-year veteran tackle in March in order for them to comply with the salary cap, but was able to re-sign him to a much more cap-friendly contract just a few days later (Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic broke down the five-year deal nicely).

    The Cardinals are in need of a right tackle.

    They targeted Demetress Bell—or however he’s spelling his name these days—through free agency, but that never materialized. Bell would have played at left tackle, giving Brown the opportunity to move back to his natural right tackle post.

    Now though, it would be in Arizona’s best interest to keep Brown where he is.

    The 2012 class of offensive tackles is a deep one. So deep, in fact, that if they miss “their guy” in the first round, there will be no need to panic. A talented lineman will be available the next time they pick, be it at No. 80 in the third round, or in the second, should they work out a deal to re-enter the round.

    Despite the deep talent pool, there is no tackle worthy of the overall No. 13 pick other than Matt Kalil and Riley Reiff (left to right in the picture above).

    There are more pressing issues than tackle at this point. Most of you will disagree, so if you do, let us know why with a comment below.

Will the Cardinals Draft a Wide Receiver In the First Round?

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    The belief of taking the best player available is a good one to have. Being able to take the best player available while filling an immediate need, however, is a bit trickier.

    Take, for example, the No. 2 receiver spot.

    Seemingly left vacant after the departure of Anquan Boldin, the No. 2 receiver position has underperformed mightily.

    When put up against what Boldin has done in Baltimore since being traded following the 2009 season, here’s how they compare:

    2010-11 Boldin: 121 receptions, 1,724 yards, 10 TD

    2010-11 Cards No. 2s: 98 receptions, 1,304 yards, 3 TD

    The quarterback play probably has a large part in the lack of production, but some of it falls on the receivers. Steve Breaston was the No. 2 in 2010, and he provided a much larger chunk of yards than 2011’s No. 2, Andre Roberts.

    The ability for the receiving corps around Larry Fitzgerald to produce at a high level would help the line by itself. A better route-runner, perhaps—a player able to get in and out of breaks quicker could lead to an earlier open receiver.

    Michael Floyd is becoming the favorite pick of many Cardinals fans, and it may just be the best pick available to them, should he still be around at No. 13.

Will the Cardinals Draft a Pass Rusher In the First Round?

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    Arizona finished No. 7 in the NFL with 42 sacks in 2010.

    That’s a good number, but with how many different things defensive coordinator Ray Horton does with his scheme, defensive diversity would be a great thing to boast.

    Former South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram is the best option for Horton’s scheme. He is extremely versatile, shows as good an up-field burst as any player in the draft and possesses the ball skills to be successful at more than just pass-rushing.

    He just may not be there to pick.

    Several mocks, like this one from ESPN’s Todd McShay, have Ingram being taken by Jacksonville at No. 7, and though that will disappoint some fans hoping for an Acho-Ingram pass-rushing tandem, it makes perfect sense for the Jags.

    Another pass-rushing option is DE/OLB Courtney Upshaw, formerly of Alabama.

    Upshaw is strictly a pass rusher, and may not have as big an upside as Ingram, so his selection might come under some scrutiny considering everything expected of an outside linebacker in Horton’s defense.

    He could be around in the low-to-mid 20s and would be an option should Arizona trade back, so for now the only way to go for pass rusher at No. 13 is Ingram.

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